Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend) – Overview

Lesson Overview

  • Features: Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend), and related variations including Prasarita Twist
  • Objective: Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.
  • Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming; contraindications and cautions; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; variations to meet particular intentions and needs; and more teaching considerations.

Prasarita Padottanasana

pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna

“prasarita” = spread out, separated or expanded

“pada” = foot or leg

“uttan” = intense stretch, extended

Expanded Leg Intense Stretching Posture

Also known as: Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend

In Bikram Hot Yoga, called Standing Separate-Leg Stretching Pose: Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana

Heart of Pose

  • Standing Forward Bend


  • Version A: Hands to floor
  • Version B: Hands at waist
  • Version C: Clasped behind back
  • Version D: Clasping big toes


A Quieter Standing Pose

Prasarita Padottanasana is one of the quieter standing poses. This pose stretches the hamstrings, but more gently than poses in which the legs are closer together… You can include this pose at the end of your standing pose practice, as a rest between vigorous standing poses, as a preparation for a long practice of seated forward bends, or before or after Down Dog. In addition, it can be practiced before you begin inverted poses. – Judith Lasater, 30 Essential Yoga Poses 2003 p 61  link

  • Sometimes used as a milder inversion such as an alternative for Headstand
  • Version C prepares shoulders for Shoulderstand
  • Often sequenced at end of standing poses to relieve fatigue
  • “This is a resting pose…” (Silva Mehta)

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